This past fall, my girlfriend and I took a road trip to Disneyland. She’d never been (insert gasp) and I hadn’t been as an adult. Let the frivolity commence. During our adventure, one of our stops really made me stop and think about how tips have now become expected. While at Storytellers Café, a part of the Disney Grand Californian Hotel, we had a whirlwind of servers (only saw ours at the beginning and at the end) and received a less than remarkable experience only to be presented with a card in our bill fold explaining the way tipping worked, and how much gratuity is in the United States. Sorry, what? Huh? Come again?
Tipping isn’t an automatic.
As I’ve mentioned before, I lived in the service industry world a long, long, tear, long time (12 years) and depended on those tips. So, I feel I can throw this question back at those gratuity-expectant servers: “Did you do anything to deserve a tip?”
Here are a couple of reasons you shouldn’t get your 15%-20% (automatic for parties of 8 or more) gratuity:
1) You didn’t add to the experience.
From the moment I walked through your doors to the moment I leave, can you say you in any way made my experience better? Just doing your job doesn’t count. For example: If your job is to make a sandwich and you do that, you didn’t improve my experience. If your job is to tell me about your product, you didn’t improve my experience. If you smiled…sorry, that’s the bare minimum of making it all better.
2) You didn’t engage in any way.
Did you make eye contact with me when you did your quality check (coming back to a table to ask if you’re enjoying your meal)? It doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. Did you try to connect to me on a human-level rather than just an exchange of goods and services? If the answer is no…no tip for you.
3) You aren’t present.
We all have bad days. We all have other things going on in our lives besides the 8ish hours a day we work. Or the generally 6ish hours servers work. Customers completely understand that. But if you’re day dreaming or chatting it up with other co-workers instead of catching the eye of a customer trying to get your attention and some service, you’re not “present.” You’re “presently” wasting your employers and your customer’s time.
4) You can’t be bothered.
The customer isn’t there to ruin your day, cause you grief or generally put a crimp in your style, they just want you to at least do your job. You may think that other thing you’re doing is pretty important but if it doesn’t involve getting me a drink, food or helping another customer…it isn’t. How many times have you talked to staff and it seemed like you were bothering them? Sorry about that…oh and yeah, no tip.
5) You are part of the problem, not the solution.
When a guest comes into your store, they’re looking to have a problem solved. They’re hungry, feel caffeine-deprived, want to get out of the house, etc. Any number of things are not working for them so they want your product or service to make it all better. Are you getting in the way of that? Is your attitude or lack of interest in your job stopping the customer experience from being a good one? Forget about that grat.
This Top 5 is full of “Didn’t…aren’t…can’t.” Aim for “did, are and can.” Tips are a reflection of added value. Your work can’t just be about order-taking but rather how you left your customer feeling after you engaged with them.
What are actions that do inspire tippy?